No one Just Snaps!

by todaystrainingblog

July 9, 2013


No one Just Snaps!


                WPV is a serious problem in the country, even if you don’t hear much about it, or even if you try to ignore it and its consequences. It comes in many different ways & fashions and can literally cost you your business and/or livelihood. The average cost of a lawsuit, for a death, is more than $5 million. And a lot of people you hear will tell you that the person just ‘snapped’. More than likely they didn’t. There are always warning signs to anyone who is about to go off and start harming people. And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s with their fists, pipe wrench, pencils or staplers, or knives and firearms! There will always be warning signs they are about to hurt someone.

The Key

                The key to all of this is we can choose to act upon the warning signs or ignore them. Which way we decide to act could determine whether or not someone will die soon or not. And in reporting the warning signs there are several things that stand in the way of reporting them to a supervisor or manager.


                The first one is ‘I don’t want to get involved’. This can be quite dangerous if it prevails in the workplace. And while it may be admirable that you don’t want to put your nose into someone else’s business, in this case it may not be a bad idea. And it is unfortunate but the culture of the business might also be encouraging this attitude as well.

                So what are some of those excuses that people give for not reporting the warning signs to their supervisor, manager, human resources, or an anonymous tip line? Here is a partial list of the ones I’ve heard in the past 20 years or so. How many of these ring true with a problem employee that you know?

He was just going through a tough time

He’ll come out of it

He’s not that kind

He would never do something like that.

 He’s not capable of doing that.

He’s got problems, who doesn’t?

I don’t want to get him in trouble.

I don’t want to get involved.

It’s not my problem

Why should I care what happens to him?

I hate this place, why should I warn them?

This company needs a wake-up call anyway.

 They won’t listen to me.


Connecting the Dots

                I stated above that no one just ever snaps. There are always the warning signs. Unfortunately, it’s as much the companies fault as well as employees fault that these signs are ignored. The reason for this is that, in addition, to the excuses above, no one can or is willing to ‘connect the dots’.

                Connecting the dots is a simple exercise, especially when you know what to look for. And it’s up to the company to inform their employees what they need to look for and connecting those dots.

                And it’s not just that simple either. Supervisors, managers, human resources, security, top management, literally everyone needs to know not to pooh pooh what an employee brings to them.

                Some employees will cry wolf too many times and therefore not be credible when reporting such things. But even if they aren’t credible in all cases, it may be the one case that they are and an incident occurs. After that it’s all about cleaning up – the blood, brain material, broken machinery, lives, and the publicity. And of course after that is litigation and potential bankruptcy. And do we really need to mention the lives and families that are suddenly and inexplicably ripped apart by an incident of violence in the workplace? Be it domestic/intimate partner violence or just a dispute between co-workers, it usually will cause heartache and grief.


                Want to know how to connect the dots? Want to know what signs you can look for?


                I also did a podcast for my book and on workplace violence. Here’s that link for you to listen.